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Watch This! Sprite Fright

Animation software Blender is a pretty powerful program. It's open-source meaning it's free to use and is used by everyone from hobbyists to professionals. From the people behind the software, there is also Blender Studio, a crowd-funded collective of animators and artists who make short films that showcase the capabilities of the software. Not only that but these movies are themselves open-source, and if you join the Blender Studio Community you can access assets from all 13 films they have made so far as well as production diaries, tutorials and more.

The newest Blender Studios production to be released is the PG-13 comedy horror short Sprite Fright, and it's a much watch. Based on the fashion (and the presence of a ghettoblaster and reference to MTV) it seems to be set sometime in the 1980s, somewhere in the UK.

A group of teens go camping in the forest. The film's heroine is a young nature enthusiast planning to catalogue the flora and fauna she finds there. But her obnoxious friends are only interested in partying. The trip takes an unexpected turn when they stumble across a tribe of tiny green mushroom-headed creatures- the sprites of the title.

At first, they appear to be cute and friendly- think the Smurfs meet Toad from the Super Mario games. However, all is not as it seems... which is where the horror part comes in.

Sprite Fright looks fantastic, with extremely charming character designs and animation. The animation has a lower frame rate than most CG animation which has the effect of making it look almost look like stop-motion. The characters all conform to classic archetypes commonly seen in 80s horror- and the cricket bat is surely a reference to horror-comedy classic Shaun Of The Dead.

It's a heap of fun, especially if you've got a soft spot for 80s horror. We would love to see a full movie in this style, but this will do for now. 

The film is directed by Pixar story artist and The Simpsons veteran Matthew Luhn and was made by a team of more than 20 artists and producers from around the world.